There’s a reason UNESCO rewarded the atmospheric Cuban town of Trinidad with a world heritage site listing. This delightful colonial era gem stands out as one of the most charming places in the country to stay and explore. Here are our suggestions for top 5 must see Trinidad Cuba attractions to help you make the most of your stay.
Walk the cobbled streets of Trinidad’s old town
The pedestrianised streets at the heart of Trinidad are lined with colonial era properties. Former mansions have been converted into shops and restaurants while museums abound. Climb the bell tower of the Convent of San Francisco for the best views across the town. At ground level, the place houses the Museo Nacional de Lucha Contra Bandidos (National Museum of the Struggle against Bandits). It offers a fascinating insight into the Cuban revolution from a Cuban perspective. Stroll back to the Plaza Mayor and sit on the steps of the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad – there’s no better place in Trinidad for the pastime of people-watching.
Famed for its colourful capital, Havana, unspoilt sandy beaches and lush rainforests, it is easy to see why Cuba is one of the world’s top destinations. However, there is so much more to this Caribbean island…
Being driven around the bustling, cobbled streets of Havana in an ancient, but beautifully preserved 1950s Cadillac, Chevrolet or Oldsmobile, you feel like you have entered a different era.
It’s not just the unusual combination of grey Soviet-era brutalist architecture juxtaposed with gems such as the Gran Teatro (lit up at night it is a marvel).
Nor is it the contrast between the seemingly endless and wide Malecon waterfront, with the blank canvas of the ocean beyond, and warren of sheltered and shady old town streets where crumbling facades defy gravity thanks to the ingenuity of the population and plenty of wooden props.
No, what really makes you feel that you are in a different time to the rest of the world — and certainly the shoving and pushing grim-faced commuters of London — are the people.
Not climbing back on the bike after breakfast can be a bit disorienting, but Trinidad is not a place you fly in and out of.
It is one of only 5 original Spanish colonial towns in Cuba, and it is by far and away the best preserved. Mostly colourfully painted single storey buildings, it’s heritage is further confirmed by its rough cobbled streets, not very comfortable for either walking or cycling.
Founded in the early 16th century, it was a staging post for expeditions to South America and it was from here that Hernán Cortés launched his invasion of Mexico.
You can spend hours wandering the streets, negotiating the tour groups and touters, and be surprised by something interesting round every corner. I was waylaid my a museum called The battle against the bandits.
A look at our time ashore in Trinidad Cuba with Viking Cruises, as part of Viking’s new voyages Cuba cruises from Miami, Florida.
At first glance, it’s hard to know exactly what to do with your time in Cuba. Sailing aboard Viking Cruises’ Viking Sun on Viking’s weeklong Cultural Cuba itinerary from Miami, guests have two-and-a-half full days to explore this fascinating island nation.
Unlike other cruise ships, Viking Sun doesn’t dock in Havana. Instead, it sits at anchor off Cienfuegos, Cuba – a pretty little town on the southern coast of the island. Viking has always been particularly adept at crafting unique itineraries, and what at first seems like a disadvantage is actually a massive win for the line on many fronts.
From Cienfuegos, Viking offers nine different shore excursion options – all of them complimentary.
Nudging the emerald Escambray mountains, Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Cuba’s most charming towns. So perfectly preserved are the quaint colonial buildings, the entire town feels as though it’s trapped in a time warp from the 18th century. Stroll the winding cobbled streets here to discover a trove of architectural treasures, from colorful colonial mansions to historic churches and pastel-painted bell towers with panoramic views. Most of the buildings span the 17th to 19th centuries when the town prospered from the sugar and slave trades.
Trinidad is also a great base for day trips to the mountains and the sea. From here, sightseers can hike to waterfalls in the Sierra del Escambray; bike to the pretty Playa Ancon, a palapa-studded beach; or venture into the Valle de Los Ingenios, yet another World Heritage-listed gem.
Two weeks, four cities. Donovan chronicles his journey in Cuba, across Varadero, Trinidad, Vinales and finally to Havana.
Cold war, communist state, trade embargo. These are the three phrases that come to mind whenever someone mentions Cuba. Thanks to our western-dominated media influence, many people do not have a good impression of Cuba. Not surprisingly, when I informed my family that I was headed to Cuba, they were all worried and asked me why I needed to explore that part of the world.
I was undeterred by other people’s opinions and the deteriorating US-Cuba relations. I had already booked my flights and nothing was about to stop me. My plan was to stay two weeks in Cuba, visiting four different cities: Varadero, Trinidad, Vinales and Havana.
The first rays of sun shoot out over the silhouetted ridges of the valley, slowly beginning to reveal the bright colors stained across the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad, Cuba. My eyes still adjusting from the sun, I sit on the terrace at my hostel and take in the slight cool breeze which will disappear in a few moments.
I stare out from the mountains to the sea, still unsure of how one place could be so picturesque. As my eyes survey the now awakened streets, I know that I had not yet seen the town in its full glory and felt the need to go higher up, farther out, and seek out the most beautiful places within the city limits.
Let’s face it! Hype is real, and even though I should be skeptical of it with all the traveling I do, I find myself believing the hype more often than you’d think. Case in point: The Cuban city of Trinidad, approximately 200 miles southeast of Havana along the island’s south-central coast.
Trinidad generates the most hype among visitors to Cuba, as cities go anyway—the resort-infested beaches of Varadero have it beat overall. Of course, I’m not here to talk about beaches (although I will again soon) but to answer this question: Is Trinidad de Cuba overrated?
A Cuban Tourist Trap?
Although the Sancti Spíritus province to which Trinidad is home generates less than half the annual tourist stays of, say, Havana, you wouldn’t know that walking down Trinidad’s cobbled streets.
The Cuban ancient city of Trinidad, along with the Valle de Los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) —both located in the province of Sancti Spiritus, central Cuba—, were the first sites of the island to be granted the recognition of Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, back in 1988.
The outstanding universal values of this village, founded in the early 16th century in honour of the Holy Trinity, were key factor to determine its inclusion in this list, where there are just a few other Cuban places. The prosperity of Trinidad during the 18th and 19th centuries and the remarkable testimony of the Valle de los Ingenios concerning the development of the sugar history, are mandatory when referring to this southern Cuban territory.